Teach your early elementary aged student all about oceans, oceanography, and the animals that live in the oceans with this free unit study!
This unit study all about oceans was designed for Kindergarten – 2nd grades. It was submitted by Susan D.
- The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole
- Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andraea
- A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
- The Twelve Days of Summer by Elizabeth Lee O’Donnell
- Leroy the Lobster and Crabby the Crab by Edward Harriman
- Wish for a Fish by Bonnie Worth
- The Great Animal Search by Caroline Young
- The Great Undersea Search by Kate Needham
- Book about Coral Reefs
- Printable Activities List – Available in the Resource Library
Activities for All About Oceans Unit Study:
CREATION OF THE OCEAN:
Read Genesis 1. Review creation of the seas and animals of the sea. Draw a picture of the creation of the seas. For writers, label the picture (eg, God made the sea on the third day). For those just learning to write, write the words and have them trace the letters, or have them copy the Bible verse.
WHAT IS AN OCEAN:
Use five senses to brainstorm what an ocean is. What does it look like, smell like, sound like, taste like, feel like?
THE WORLD’S OCEANS:
Locate the major oceans on a world map. Show how the oceans are all connected. Use a blank world map to label and color the oceans. Identify other large bodies of water on the map. Discuss the difference between an ocean, sea, and lake.
Read Commotion in the Ocean. Discuss rhyming. Find rhyming pairs. Older writers can create their own rhyme about the ocean.
Read A House for Hermit Crab. Use this to discuss the months of the year. What are some characteristics or things you know about each month? Make a box of months. Find one item to represent each month and place it in the box (eg, a seashell for August and a red bow for December). Or, draw a picture representing each month. Learn about the author, Eric Carle, at his website. Read another story of Eric Carle’s. Discuss how he creates his artwork. Use his technique to make your own ocean scene.
Read The Twelve Days of Summer. Use this for a discussion of summer as a season. What is the weather like in the summer? What are some things you like to do in the summer? What kind of clothes do you wear in the summer?
Read Leroy the Lobster and Crabby the Crab. What are some of the words used to describe objects and characters in the story? Act out these adjectives: lazy, creepy, mysterious, savage, frightened, awful, awesome. Discuss how Leroy felt about the book he found. What about Crabby? What was the most exciting part of the story? How did you feel at that part? How did Leroy and Crabby escape? What treasure did they bring home?
Fill a shallow pan with water. Blow on the water from one end. Notice the waves, their shape, their motion. The moon pulls on the earth. The easiest place to see this is in the waves. Wind can also affect waves. What are the waves like in a big storm? Use National Geographic’s online wave simulator to understand the characteristics of waves.
Complete the lab on Making Salt Water (under Oceans/Grade 1).
Read Wish for a Fish. Make a diagram of the ocean zones. Use brown construction paper to create the ocean floor, black for the midnight zone and the abyss, dark blue for the twilight zone, and light blue for the sunlit zone. Cut out and paste pictures of animals and plants that belong in each zone, or draw your own pictures.
Use Commotion in the Ocean, The Twelve Days of Summer, or Wish for a Fish to make a list of ocean animals. Identify which animals are mammals, birds, fish, or invertebrates.
Search for sea animals in The Great Animal Search, “By the Sea.”
Choose one animal to learn more about. Draw a picture of the animal. Write a brief report (scaled to your young writer’s abilities) describing where the animal lives, what kind of animal it is, what it eats, or anything interesting about the animal.
Make a waxed paper animal Use scrapings or bits of old crayons to make a picture of the animal on waxed paper. Place another sheet of waxed paper on top. Iron on a low setting until the crayon has melted and the waxed paper is stuck together. Cut out around the animal, put a string through the top, and hang it up.
Read a book about coral reefs. Use a shoebox to make a diorama of a coral reef. Be sure to include at least one animal and one plant found in a coral reef.
Search for hidden images in The Great Undersea Search, “Coral Dives.”
MORE ABOUT THE OCEAN:
Read The Magic School Bus On the Ocean Floor. On a large sheet of paper, draw and color a diagram of the ocean, some of its parts, its animals and birds, just like Miss Frizzle’s class does at the end of the story.
Take a field trip to the ocean. Before going, make a list of things to look for, such as waves, intertidal zone, the high tide mark, tidal pools, and creatures of the tidal pools. Use this list for a scavenger hunt while at the ocean.
Or, take a field trip to an aquarium.